Good News….Idaho Halts Wolf Extermination In “The Frank”…

Nature Cold Warriors_pack traveling through snow

From Center For Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, January 27, 2014

Contact: Tim Preso, Earthjustice, (406) 586-9699
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, (971) 717-6403
Ken Cole, Western Watersheds Project, (208) 890-3666
Suzanne Stone, Defenders of Wildlife, (208) 424-9385

State-sponsored Wolf Killing Ends in Idaho

Faced With Looming Court Challenge, Idaho Halts Unprecedented Program

POCATELLO, Idaho— Faced with a looming deadline to defend its actions before a federal appeals court, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) announced this afternoon that it is halting its wolf extermination program in the Middle Fork region of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness as of today.

The announcement represents a stay of execution for the remaining wolves that constitute the Golden Creek and Monumental Creek wolf packs, which inhabit the Middle Fork region. To date, nine wolves from the two packs have been killed by IDFG’s hired hunter-trapper, who entered the wilderness and began his wolf extermination program in mid-December. It is unknown how many wolves remain in the two packs.

“IDFG’s hunter-trapper killed nine wolves and we are happy to report that the rest no longer face the same threat,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso. “We are sorry it took an emergency injunction request to the court of appeals to get Idaho to halt this illegal program, and we hope that the federal government in the future will take more seriously its public trust responsibility to protect the wilderness from state efforts to exterminate native wildlife.”

IDFG’s action comes in the midst of an emergency proceeding before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in which conservationists were seeking an injunction to halt the wolf extermination program. The conservationists, represented by Earthjustice, sued IDFG and the U.S. Forest Service earlier this month, arguing that the state wolf extermination program would degrade the largest forested wilderness in the lower-48 states. After a federal judge in Idaho rejected a request to stop the program on Jan. 17, the conservationists took their fight to the court of appeals, where they filed an emergency request for an injunction on Jan. 23.

IDFG is halting trapping in the Middle Fork starting today and the trapper will take a few days to remove traps and snares from the area. Additional trapping in the area will cease, at least through the end of the state fiscal year, which is June 30.

This is bittersweet news,” said Ken Cole with the Western Watersheds Project. “I am happy that IDFG has relented but it is unfortunate that so many wolves have been taken in this senseless plan to manhandle wildlife in an area that Congress recognized as a wilderness ‘where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man.’ “

In mid-December 2013, IDFG hired a hunter-trapper to pack into central Idaho’s 2.4-million-acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to eradicate two wolf packs, the Golden and Monumental packs, in the interest of inflating elk populations for outfitters and recreational hunters. The U.S. Forest Service, which administers the wilderness, approved the extermination program by authorizing use of a Forest Service cabin and airstrip to support wolf extermination activities.

“It’s a tragedy that nine wolves had to die before the state of Idaho finally pulled the plug on its needless effort to eradicate two whole wolf packs from one of America’s largest wilderness areas,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The wolves were only playing the role they play in nature and should never have been killed. It should not take court action to stop such cruel, unnecessary and wasteful killing, but I’m glad it has stopped.”

The region of the Frank Church Wilderness where IDFG’s hunter-trapper was killing wolves is a remote area around Big Creek and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Even though this region hosts one of the lightest densities of hunters in the state, IDFG prioritized elk production over protection of the area’s wilderness character. The Forest Service failed to object to IDFG’s plans and instead actively assisted them.

Earthjustice represented long-time Idaho conservationist and wilderness advocate Ralph Maughan along with four conservation groups — Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project, Wilderness Watch, and the Center for Biological Diversity — in the lawsuit challenging the wolf extermination program.


Photo: Courtesy Nature (Cold Warriors)

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Idaho Wolves, Activism, Biodiversity

Tags:  Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness, Ralph Maughin, WWP, CBD, Wilderness Watch, DOW, Golden wolf pack, Monumental wolf pack, a victory for the wolves

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27 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This is indeed good news. IDFG retreated to save face and they still technically got what they wanted – the department is corrupted to the core. I don’t trust them to be honest in ‘removing the traps’.
    The scumbag of a trapper is still going to be paid, and probably then some for the skins he acquired during his ‘adventure’.


    • Yes that is so true.


  2. This is very very good news.  I don’t understand how the people who voted killing wolves in the 1st place passed this through to be a law.  These people shouldn’t be in charge of any animals whatsoever.    Karen


  3. Can they still be sued for what they did?


  4. Why people want to think that they should be managing animals of nature…?
    We never create nature and those animals, so that is not our job as human being.
    That is the Creators jobs. In this wolves case, people are just ruined wolves by slaughters until nearly extinct then bring numbers of wolves from Canada. Until last year, they were on the list of “endanger spices” but they took off wolves from the list. Then now they are tried to exterminate them?! wtf? without scientific proofs for elk’s population?!?!
    This is totally people’s OVERESTIMATE of human power, in the fact, people are screw up nature balance and those are all those human’s faults. However, still they try to more killed wolves, without understanding just those people messed up with their interferes. Wolves are just victims by those people with only shallow idea in long time. What a tragedy for wolves!
    Yes, I think this is a good news, too but still many wolves are in the serious problems which created by human…


  5. Finally. After all the killing and torturing of our wolves the last few are spared (that is, in the Middle Fork region.) Unfortunately it took a lawsuit and not because the IDFG had a change of heart. I agree with John D. in that they can’t be trusted with anything, much less removing the remaining traps. I pray that this is just the beginning of the end of the senseless killing and torturing of an animal that was just living its life the way nature intended.
    “I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
    “Animals don’t have many rights but they have every right to be here.”


  6. I am wondering if they halted the murders because the nine beloved wolves that they massacred was enough to damage the packs so that they are no longer a threat to the bloated murderous hunters who want to murder elk. In other words, they accomplished their reprehensible mission. A pox on all of them.


  7. Just sent a letter to T.Janes of the Center of Biological Diversity, thanking him and all the other groups that went to court on behalf of our beloved wolves. I just hope that Idaho doesn’t decide later on that they should induldge in their evil ways again….but for now…God bless our “Rainbow Warriors”!!!


    • They will – don’t you worry.


  8. I don’t think this is the end of it. Idaho Fish & Game, and the commission that directs the department’s actions, are hell-bent on persecuting wolves and all predators (and actually, all animals — just through different methods). They believe that hunters and trappers SHOULD call the shots, and they lack the moral capability and the decency to acknowledge that we should even have a conversation about this.

    These people are dinosaurs left behind in a world that has moved on, and they remain mired in a brutal, exploitive worldview in which dominance and vicious life-and-death power over others is their birthright and their achievement. They are contemptible. I’m grateful for the temporary reprieve, but I don’t believe for one second that they will stop. As soon as the legal threats and the public scrutiny abate, they’ll be killing again. It’s what they do best.


  9. Fabulous news !


  10. Thank you for your fight to protect those wolves. Congratulations on your victory. Now the big battle to get them back on the endangered list permanently to protect them and to save the endangered species law itself.


  11. Reblogged this on Wolf Is My Soul and commented:
    Finally some good news on behalf of the wolves, but it seems every victory is bittersweet and temporary. Nonetheless, I say thank you and job well done to the groups that won this time.


  12. Yes, this is a victory, but Idaho still plans to kill 500 more wolves in order to bring the population down to the minimum number required: 150 (10-15 breeding pairs). Let’s not forget also that Idaho has changed the definition of what a breeding pair is in order to suit their agenda of driving wolves to the brink of extinction. These people have no appreciation whatsoever for the ecological importance of wolves, and no respect for how nature works.


  13. This indeed is good news but as Ken Cole said it is a shame nine wolves had to die. We do not know if they are the pack leaders and how this effects the rest of the packs. Let me add something I was thinking last night. In Drag racing or any other racing a man goes against other machines, he know the potential danger involved. A machine has a certain probability of fault and the man could be injured or die. But that his choice of probability. When a hunter hunts he hunts with a machine too but his probability of injury is minimum. Now here is the he is going not against a machine but a living creature which he knows the probability of it’s actions, so in essence where is the probability of his risk, almost zero if not zero. My question is ,is this a sport where almost in all sports their is a probability of injury ,no matter the probability of the odds. I say IMHO in hunting their is zero probability of injury to the hunter, cowards IMHO if it is not for food.


  14. It’s not over, they are gearing up to remove all but 150 from the state ! here’s my response: TWEETSTORM FOR WOLVES -during OBAMA STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS Jan 28 at 9 PM :


  15. Joanne, what do you mean that Idaho has changed the definition of what a breeding pair is? A breeding pair is a breeding pair. How can the definition be changed?


    • I read that, too, From what i remember, now they’claiming that any 2 wolves (even 2 of same sex) and 2 pups are enough to constitute a breeding population – Crazy!


    • I read that too, two males, two females = a breeding pair. In Idaho they do whatever they want even if it is wrong and completely false and stupid.


  16. Reblogged this on Exposing the Big Game and commented:
    Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity: “The wolves were only playing the role they play in nature and should never have been killed. It should not take court action to stop such cruel, unnecessary and wasteful killing, but I’m glad it has stopped.”


  17. Wonderful news but you can be sure that it is not the end of it. Idaho will not be happy until there wolf population is zero. You can be sure that all the traps and snares will not be removed. They are backward, evil and conniving people who will do anything to get what they want.


  18. Are the trappers required to bring in their snares and traps?


    • Yes they are by law the state cannot afford for other animals like the elk and deer, moose to be caught in the traps and snares that would be a waste of meat according to the state of Idaho


      • Would it be possible to develop an adventure organization in the area where wolves might be for tourism of photograpy and summer camping? If there is tourism, they wouldnt wamt gunfire going off..? Maybe?


    • Why is this important update still in moderation? Reports are that the only reason the trapper was called off is because he had actually killed the wolves in both packs – A deceptive move on the part of Idaho F&G (not an intentional lie by the conservation orgs, but perhaps a premature announcement of victory). Thanks –


  19. I am happy at this slight “reprieve” for the wolves of Idaho, but if the past (and present) has taught us anything, it is to not let our guard down, but to keep up the fight for the lives of our brothers and sisters of the wild.


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